sexism


You know the internet, right, how one link leads to another, blah blah blah? Well one way or another I recently read about a new online journal –Transformative Works and Cultures — that I’m kind of excited about. Its focus is transformative works, primarily fan-created works that are based on existing works in popular culture. Sounds fancy! The journal’s goal of bridging academic and fandom communities in a free online journal is a laudable one. There is a non-peer-reviewed section that publishes essays from fans outside of the academy. Awesome.

A while back I posted a link to a video that set clips of the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to a song from Requiem for a Dream, giving the clips entirely new meaning. Well, it seems this is an example of a longstanding tradition called “vidding” and like many fandom practices, it has its roots in the practices of female fans of Star Trek. I highly recommend reading the very interesting article:

Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding

http://journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/44/64

The article presents some history and theory about vidding, and being an online publication, it takes excellent advantage of the medium and includes relevant multimedia content to illustrate relevant points. I spent a bunch of time reading the article and viewing the various clips. The most mesmerizing by far was a vid for a show and fandom I don’t know anything about – Battlestar Gallactica. I don’t know if my reaction would be different if I was actually familiar with the show, the characters, the context of the clips, but I can tell you I’ve watched it five times and it gave me 3 solid minutes of skin-crawling chills each time.

(please no clarifying discsussion or BSG spoilers – it’s been on my list of shows to check out for a while and I’m thinking this summer hiatus will be the time I get around to it)

I also recommend viewing the Star Trek vids and reading the discussion about them in the article:

People at work were teasing each other and calling one another “geek” in an email thread, so someone sent out a pointer to this quiz called The Geek Social Aptitude Test (GSAT for short). It was cute set of Yes/No questions and I was basically enjoying it until this one came up:

gsat

Seriously, in the 21st century, is the possibility still so remote that a person whose sexual preference is for men would be taking this quiz, as to warrant such an exclusionary question? There were a few others that betrayed the quiz maker’s assumptions about the quiz taker, but this was the most blatant.

It’s not that I so desperately want to know whether I am a Geek according to this silly quiz. It’s about being reminded that you’re not the “default human” and it’s like a punch in the face. Every. Damn. Time.

Seen yesterday on msn.com:

rogerswtf

OMG! Vogue! OMG!

*retch*

What’s it going to take, to change the way our culture discusses women?

MichelleObamaFashion

Or are we all just THAT relieved to find out that Michelle Obama is equally comfortable in designer or budget fashion.

Throughout the Olympic diving coverage, the female commentator made loads of cringeworthy remarks. During the men’s 10 meter platform finals, she really outdid herself during this conversation with her colleague:

Male broadcaster: 14-year-old Tom Daley, who won the European championship this year to vault himself into the world class platform diving.

Female broadcaster: I can’t help but call him cute! Love the smile. [pause] Love the diving too!

Wow, that is totally unnecessary. It’s gross when a male broadcaster leers and remarks on the appearance of a female athlete, and it’s gross when a female broadcaster does the same to a male athlete. It’s super extra gross when the athletes being discussed are minors. And you know what, it’s probably gross no matter what the genders of the broadcasters or the athletes. Let’s just not have any leering, thanks.

This poor book languished for years on my shelves. “Oh yeah,” I’d occasionally think, “that’s supposed to be good, an American classic, I should read that some day.” I finally took it off the shelf last month and read the back of the book, which contained this quote:

In short, Mrs. Pontellier was not a mother-woman. The mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle. It was easy to know them, fluttering about with extended, protecting wings when any harm, real or imaginary, threatened their precious brood. They were women who idolized their children, worshipped their husbands, and esteemed it a holy privilege to efface themselves as individuals and grow wings as ministering angels.

That is dynamite, knockout stuff that evidently freaked the crap out of her contemporary society. This book was written in 1899.

As you might gather from that passage, the heroine of The Awakening is an unconventional woman. While vacationing with her husband and 2 children on the Gulf Coast one summer, Edna Pontellier learns to swim, falls in love, and slowly realizes that the life she is living is not fulfilling. That realization propels her to make major changes, which have repercussions I won’t spoil.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as if that passage (and this book) could still be written today and would seem just as relevant as it must have been in 1899 – maybe more so. It feels seditious. It feels dangerous. It feels real and revolutionary.

I don’t know a lot about literary movements so all I can say is that the writing seems old-fashioned but in no way inaccessible to a modern reader. Some of the writing, particularly the end, was breathtakingly poignant.

I feel self-conscious recommending it, as if my recommendation will be interpreted as some kind of anti-family manifesto. But I think my friends who bother to read my blog know I’m not anti-family. I’m just exceedingly sympathetic to the plight of anyone (particularly women) caught in the oppressive expectations of a domination-based hierarchical social system that’s slavishly devoted to narrow gender roles. F that.

Bottom line: very highly recommended.

I’m not sure I’d have even come across these Canadian Club whiskey ads in the first place, let alone their excellent remixes. 

Pssst — Your MOOOOM had groupies!

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